LGBTQI+ youth – Keeping the conversation going

Following the Community of Practice kick-off meeting in September, members and partners of Child Helpline International have been continuing the discussion on how helplines can best support LGBTQI+ youth over a set of webinars. This is in relation to Child Helpline International’s current We Listen project – funded by the European Commission – which aims to further establish child helplines as a key support and information mechanism for particularly vulnerable and underrepresented children.

The kick-off meeting hosted by Child Helpline International in Amsterdam on 27 September, highlighted the multi-level cooperation necessary and the importance of finding common evidence-based guidelines in order to sustain and improve support to LGBTQI+ callers. With this mission in mind, the webinars took place from October to December 2018, considered best practices for child helplines and explored how data collection systems can map the issues faced by LGBTQI+ callers. The sessions also highlighted the importance of involving children and young people in decision-making and in shaping how counsellors respond to children who call helplines. It was a valuable opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience of how this can be achieved, and it was clear that ensuring children are able to actively participate in issues affecting them, is a continued goal shared by all.

We are looking forward to our final webinar, to be held in the New Year, which will consider how child helpline counsellors and volunteers can best be trained to respond to LGBTQI+ service users. The Communities of Practice is all part of a wider project, which aims not only to establish quality standards for helplines, but also to improve data collection procedures and raise awareness of the European regionally-harmonised child helpline number 116 111. Next Spring, Child Helpline International will also host a second Community of Practice, focusing specifically on strengthening helpline support to children on the move.

This project was funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme (2014-2020).